Written during Bach’s tenure in the court of Anhalt-Köthen (1717-1723), the Six Suites for Unaccompanied Cello (BWV 1007-1012) form part of a particularly fruitful period that yielded a plethora of secular music, including the Brandenburg Concertos, several of the orchestral suites, and the first book of the Well-Tempered Clavier.
Each suite in the collection follows the same six movement form: Prelude, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Galanteries, and Gigue. The second suite is typical of Bach’s apparently simple yet multi-layered approach to the form, supplying an unconscious harmonic context to a single melody line. The Sarabande is particularly brooding, while the Gigue concludes the work with an equal mix of mischief and virtuosity.
- Trumpet in B-flat or C
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